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Reply To: Writing Mentor

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Taylor Clogston
@taylorclogston

@nataliecone I wrote most of this post before I realized you were talking about the mindset course. The new Breakthrough Strategies course also talks about finding a mentor, and that’s what I had in mind.

The mentor section of the [breakthrough] course was good advice, but I really wish they went into more detail, because clearly different people have different ideas of what a mentor is, and it seemed to assume the person taking the course already had a network of writing professionals through cons and college and whatever else.

I’m firmly of the opinion that in-person relationships are more useful than online writing groups, and that there’s only a certain extent to which writing books and videos can teach you. I have sixty-one titles in my “books for writers” shelf on Goodreads, and I’ve attended a few writing conferences and taken about a half dozen writing courses, but after the first few craft books I didn’t find much new in the hundreds of hours of courses, classes, and craft books. I’ve also received some great insight from my local writing groups over the years, usually more than from my online writing groups.

Generally, I learn more from critiquing someone else’s book than I do from any other teaching source, and the same usually goes for having my own writing critiqued.

Though I don’t have a mentor because I’m too lazy to try to find someone I think is in a position to teach me, I have to imagine that receiving specific advice for your particular case from someone more skilled or even just more experienced than yourself will be infinitely more beneficial than listening to a Brando Sando lecture intended for a general audience. He can’t answer your questions or make clarifications, can’t tailor his advice to you.

And while I can’t read the minds of the course writers, I feel they probably weren’t referring to mentors as writing coaches? I know the [breakthrough] course does mention writing coaches, but that was when talking about editors, which makes me think they likely were referring to getting someone like a college professor or a more experienced author to take you under their wing rather than you paying them an hourly rate to answer your questions.

"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

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